But that seems to be what happened to Consumerist reader James, who purchased what he thought was a new camera from Kmart yesterday.
After monkeying around with it for a bit, he went to hook it up to his computer, only to find a bunch of images that he never took. What’s more, they all seemed to be shots from the camera aisle of the very Kmart from which he’d made his purchase.
“I was obviously sold a floor model,” James tells Consumerist. “I’m a bit perturbed that no one told me that during the purchase process. Isn’t there some kind of legal obligation they have to let you know if you are buying a used, returned or floor model item?”
Now, we are not lawyers, but according to the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law [PDF], the following is listed under one of the many definitions of “Unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” (and therefore illegal) —
“Representing that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand.”
It’s highly possible that this is simply a mistake on an employee’s part — or some goof in the store’s inventory system — and not a deliberate attempt to mislead a customer. We’ve asked the folks at Sears/Kmart HQ to comment on the story and will update if we hear back from them.
Meanwhile, James says he contacted the Kmart about the problem.
“The manager’s response on the phone when I said I was sold this item was, ‘Well the sales person probably didn’t know it was a floor model,'” he tells Consumerist. “When I said it was her responsibility to know that, she just made a grunty noise.”
He’ll be returning the camera tonight, in spite of the manager’s grunting.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a selection of some of the finest images found on James’ not exactly new camera: